Govt. bans construction as air quality drops to ‘very poor’ zone

Chief Minister announces financial assistance of ₹5,000 each to all workers in Delhi

Following the Supreme Court directions, the Delhi Government on Thursday reimposed the ban on construction and demolition activities in the city.

The court had also directed the Government to provide financial assistance to workers affected by the ban. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that he has issued directions to give ₹5,000 each to all construction workers.

“I issued directions today (Thursday) to give ₹5,000 each to all construction workers in Delhi. Also, as per the minimum wage, the loss to construction workers will be compensated. We will also put up camps at construction sites to register workers,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

Meanwhile, the city’s air quality deteriorated to the higher end of the “very poor” category on Thursday and is likely to worsen and remain in the same category for the next three days, according to the authorities.

“The Supreme Court issued an order last night in this regard (ban on construction). Considering that, all construction and demolition work in Delhi is being banned again. Plumbing, interior decoration, electric work, and carpentry work will be allowed,” Environment Minister Gopal Rai said.

The Delhi Government had banned construction activities on November 13 and lifted the ban on Monday.

Talking about why the Government had lifted the ban, the Environment Minister said development work is also important and there was an improvement in the pollution levels in Delhi after the initial ban.

“We are mentally prepared for everything. If the situation improves, we will consider the prospect of reopening. If the situation worsens, we will take the necessary actions. Keeping the court’s instructions in mind, construction and demolition work inside Delhi has been banned once again,” he said.

Slow winds

The speed of local surface winds is likely to be relatively low for the next three days and that will lead to deterioration of air quality within the “upper end of very poor” category, Government-run monitoring agency SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research) said in a statement.

“On November 29, local surface winds are likely to increase resulting in improvement of air quality but remain within the ‘very poor’ category,” SAFAR said.

On Thursday, the contribution of stubble burning in neighbouring States to PM2.5 (a chief pollutant) in Delhi was negligible, according to SAFAR.

The air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was 400 on Thursday, up from 361 on Wednesday, as per the Central Pollution Control Board’s 4 p.m. bulletin, which is the average of the past 24 hours and considered the day’s AQI. But by 7 p.m., the AQI crossed into the “severe” category with an AQI of 402.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.

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